The Theophania, or “Epiphany”, is celebrated on January 6 every year and commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ through a day of celebration and festivities. The Theophania, meaning “Christ shining through”, is one of the most meaningful celebrations for the Greek Orthodox Church, ranked third behind only Easter and Pentecost.
In Australia, various activities and food celebrations are on display during the Theophania, including food stalls selling souvlaki, loukoumades and baklava. Thousands will flock to numerous locations across Australia, with some of the main ones being the Epiphany day (Theofania) celebration in Frankston, Melbourne, and the Epiphany Greek Festival in Yarra Bay, Sydney.
The main event is comprised of the throwing of the cross, by which a holy cross is thrown into any water basin, varying from seas to rivers, lakes, and even fountains. After a priest throws the cross, men plunge into the water to grab hold of it and try to outrace each other. Whoever succeeds in reaching the cross first and bringing it out is believed to be blessed with good luck. The festival marks the 12th day of Christmas celebration and is considered one of the most important religious festivals.